Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale confirmed the air strike by the Indian Air Force on February 26.
In a press conference, Gokhale said India struck the biggest camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Balakot, which was headed by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri, brother-in-law of JeM chief Masood Azhar. In the attack, a large number of JeM terrorists, leadership and suicide bombers were eliminated, he said.
It was not clear if the strikes were on Bala Kote in PoK or Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
He further said the information regarding the terror camps in Pakistan and in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) had been provided to Pakistan on multiple occasions, but they had not taken any action. It is impossible for these terror organisations to operate there without Pakistan’s knowledge. Pakistan has done nothing to dismantle terror mechanism there, Gokhale said.
Pakistan-based JeM had claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed on February 14.
Gokhale said they had received credible information that JeM was attempting other attacks in the country. A pre-emptive strike became important, he added.
Talking about the selection of the target, he said the location of the strike was chosen to make sure there were no civilian casualties. The camp was located in a thickly forested area on a hill top, he said.